A Typical IN FOCUS Day
Each day of the program will include a mix of a leader-facilitated discussion, an activity, and a guest speaker or site visit. Sessions will be a mixture of half and full days. As scheduling permits, every day will be organized around a different subject. Sustainability topics covered could include waste, water, energy, building, conservation, cleantech, urban planning, and food. Below is a representative day of the two-week schedule. While this session would be a full day and held on the Evanston campus, some days will be half days and/or consist of field trips offsite.
Subject of the Day: Public Policy
9:30-10:30: Article Discussion on "To Really Save the Planet, Stop Going Green"
- Do you agree with the author's premise that large scale policy changes, rather than small lifestyle changes, are necessary to work against climate change—and why or why not?
- How do you define "sustainable" versus "green"?
- Have you observed the effects of environmental policies at the local, state, or federal levels?
- Demonstrate that policy plays an important role in creating positive environmental change
- Discuss the challenges and opportunities for environmental policy on the local and federal scale
- Introduce the idea of sustainability as a systemic issue
10:30-12:30: Policy Case Study
- Several case studies and information on positive and negative incentives will be presented to the group. Students then form 3-person teams and develop and present policy concepts that reduce foam packaging from a city's waste stream. Students will vote on and discuss which concept they feel would ultimately be most effective.
- How does a city encourage use of alternatives that may be more expensive, or that are perceived to be inferior or a burden?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of both incentives and disincentives?
- Demonstrate that developing effective policies involves carefully considering and planning multiple variables
- o Introduce students to the range of policy solutions that are available
12:30-1:15: Lunch Break
1:15-2:15: Meet with an Energy Policy Expert
- What policies promote the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency within the Midwest?
- What are the obstacles to developing and advocating for new policies?
- Understand how current and upcoming policies are transforming the region's energy profile
2:30-3:30: Meet with a Land Conservation Policy Expert
- o What policies, funding, and lobbying are necessary to protect open space within the state of Illinois?
- Understand that land conservation is a complex system in which many organizations and political factors must be aligned
3:30-4:30: Processing Discussion
- How did the talks of guest speakers relate to what we worked on earlier in the day?
- What new information strongly resonated with you? Anything you disagreed with?
- Do you have any questions about what you're learning?
- Facilitate the processing of new information and allow opinions to emerge
- Develop connections between group work/discussions and lecture content